Unlike other Educational Frameworks that I have developed in the past that have narrowly focused on school or district concerns, this framework addresses an issue we face on a global level – one that relates to students who are transferring schools due to family relocation. As I have recently discovered with my own family’s move from Canada to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – differing curriculums do not transfer seamlessly, and I have spoken of the impact this had on my daughter in a prior article, where I discussed how she was faced with the reality of being two years behind her peers in Year 4 (Grade 3). As I am of the mindset that in education the solution to any problem we encounter should be putting the proper framework in place, I designed the model below that – theoretically speaking – should work globally.
The concept behind the Global Curriculum Equivalency Framework is similar to that of a reading level correlation chart that compares and standardizes reading levels from different programs – PM Benchmark, DRA, Reading Recovery, Fountas and Pinnel, Rigby, etc., so that no matter which school a student transfers to or from, and no matter which program they were assessed on, a teacher can match them to the one they are using. And the beauty of this is that it demystifies and clarifies where the child is at so the teacher can plan accordingly, which I don’t think anyone can argue the value of. Now imagine the same concept but bigger in impact because schools would have access to documents that indicate curriculum equivalencies in all subject areas and at all grade levels around the world; if such documents had existed, EtonHouse Malaysia, would have seen straight away that both the Language Arts and Math curriculums they were offering were miles ahead of what my daughter had learned following the B.C. curriculum, and they could have adjusted her curriculums accordingly from the get go without my intervention.
So how exactly would the Global Curriculum Equivalency Framework work? It would start off by having a team of educators sort through curriculums to create equivalency charts by subject area that offered comparisons based on both age and grade level, which is depicted at the bottom of the frameworks’ design (four colored columns within the orange box). From there, the equivalency charts would be made accessible to schools globally. Once schools were in possession of these documents, they would have two choices the first would be to simply do away with grouping classes by age and allow students to be placed in classes based on the curriculums followed at their prior school. In this case, a grade 3 class could perhaps consist of students 8, 9 & 10 years of age. The second option would be to continue to group students by date of birth, but in certain subject areas, such as LA and Math, where abilities could range vastly depending on background knowledge, students could be divided into different levels – meaning that Math students in a grade 3 class would be split three ways: some would follow the grade 2 curriculum, some would follow the grade 3 curriculum, and others the grade 4 curriculum. In either scenario, no student would be left floundering as they struggled to complete a curriculum they simply weren’t prepared for, and a school would have the flexibility to do away with placement tests since they would already have a clear understanding of each child’s abilities prior to entering the school.
As I designed the Global Curriculum Equivalency Framework, the reality of putting a framework such as this in place was not lost on me. Theoretically speaking, this framework reflects the utopian idea of access to higher education, not limited to the primary levels; it would also impact the secondary levels and ultimately extend so far as to provide universities and colleges with documents that would offer direct curriculum comparisons between the countries and schools that students would be applying from. Realistically speaking, to put such a system in place would require the cooperation of governments, districts, schools, etc., which would be no easy feat. But hey, an educator can dream, right?
Ever had an idea you thought was so great, only to be met with grumbles of protest once you have proposed it to your staff? Wondering if there was a way to get everyone on board and enthusiastic the next time you want to initiate change within in your school? Here’s how!
The first thing you need to able to do is remove the notion in your head that from the get-go people are going to be excited about change – the majority won’t be, no matter how good your proposals are – and each person has their own reasons why. If you are willing to accept this, then the rest is easy - shifting everyone’s mindset from a negative to a positive one can be done within 3 simple steps!
Step 1: Share Your Problem and Proposed Solution
The initial meeting is for presenting the problem you wish to solve along with your proposed solution. Once presented, you will ask staff members to write their reactions using a form like the one below, giving each person a way to vocalize any objections they may have to the problem you have highlighted and/or your suggested solution. At this point in time you may opt to have staff do this individually or in groups.
When everyone has noted their concerns along with ways to remedy them, simply gather the forms and end this portion of your meeting. In doing so, you will give both your staff and yourself time to process the information presented in the meeting.
Step 2: Categorize Feedback
Between the initial meeting and the subsequent one is when you will have the time to review your staff’s thoughts on the problem/solution you proposed and categorize the information you received based on what makes sense to you. Perhaps you would like to group common concerns together, perhaps you would like to list concerns by grade level or teams of teachers, etc. Let’s say you have decided to go by grade levels, and you have chosen to note feedback provided using a table like the one below.
When completing the above table, you would simply copy concerns and solutions collected from staff into the appropriate boxes and leave the “Staff Solution” and “Resolution” areas blank, as these will be completed during the follow-up meeting. As you are noting areas of concern, you can be looking for patterns that emerge – for example, perhaps you will notice that the grade 1 and 2 teachers have common issues they would like addressed, and these issues may not even be something you yourself had thought of when you came up with your proposed solution. After completing your table, you can decide if you would like to make copies for everyone or if you would like to share an online version on a whiteboard during your next meeting.
Step 3: Resolve and Move Forward
With your table at hand, you are now prepared to lead your staff in a productive meeting that will assist you in refining the wording of your initial problem and in modifying your proposed solution into something that is workable for all staff. You can start your meeting by addressing the wording of your initial problem so that it makes sense to all, and from there you can begin resolving concerns from grade level to grade level (or however you have chosen to categorize information) by having staff come up with agreed solutions for each box. Finally, you can complete the “Resolution” section at the bottom of the template with your newly worded problem, reworked solution, and plan for moving forward.
Not everyone is going to agree with ideas you present to them from the beginning; however, in working through this 3-step process you allow your staff a means of voicing their opinions, and a way to come to a common consensus when moving forward. And if you can succeed in getting your staff on board and excited about the changes you are proposing, amazing things can be accomplished!